Behold: The Cupcake. That's pretty much all that is left after a crazy whirlwind that spanned 48 hours and included waking up at insanely early hours of the morning, lots of driving, baking, laughing, crying, jumping, shopping, dreaming, and, of course, finding out about our baby girl. We've decided that Ultrasound Day in our house ranks right up there with Finding Out We're Pregnant Day and tails closely behind the final Birth Day. Even though we have ultrasounds before this one, this particular ultrasound is poignant for several reasons--obviously, it reveals important details about the health of the baby, it gives the possibility of knowing the gender, and it marks the halfway (or almost halfway) point of the pregnancy. If that isn't cause for celebration, I don't know what is!
The morning of the ultrasound, I woke up at 4:00, my mind abuzz. I was so excited. Having gone through this before, you would think that I would know what to expect and would therefore be calm and go about my business as usual. But, for me, it was quite the contrary. Knowing what was ahead only added to my giddy anticipation, while simultaneously taking away from some precious hours of sleep! I finally got out of bed at 5:30 and started the day. Cub and I went about our daily Thursday ritual, which for us begins at play group, and my friends there were awesome and asked a lot of questions about our pending ultrasound. I love play group. It's such a sweet, special time, and getting to share in these life moments is precisely why I love it so much.
I dropped Cub off with his Aunt Pam and drove to the hospital to meet my husband. I checked in and was admitted (forgot about that part!) and sat in the radiology waiting room. My husband showed up a few minutes later and they called us back. We held hands as we walked down the hallway.
When we walked into the ultrasound room, the technician smiled at us and I immediately recognized her. She was the same ultrasound technician I had when we miscarried in 2007. I remember her because she was so nice and kind to me, going above and beyond to make sure I was warm and comfortable during the process--a bright spot on a very dark day, when the ultrasound screen was ominously empty. I knew she wouldn't remember me, but I told her that we had met before and how. I told her I appreciated her kindness and obviously hadn't forgotten it, over two years later! She was happy to hear it and even happier to be here, years later, performing the ultrasound of our second healthy baby. She asked us if we wanted to know the gender and we said that Yes! If we can, of course. If Baby Bean cooperates. So, the ultrasound began.
As soon as Baby Bean appeared on the screen, the technician said, "Okay then! Here are two little legs ... and nothing in between!"
And I smiled.
I didn't jump off the cot. I didn't burst into tears. I didn't grab the monitor and begin kissing it voraciously.
All of which are very viable options, given my somewhat sanguine personality.
But, I didn't. I smiled up at my husband. I was calm. My heart was calm. My hope for a baby girl was completely at rest. I knew there was an equal chance of Baby Bean being a boy or a girl and I was thrilled for either (there's still that chance!). But stepping into that room, having the privilege of making it this far into the pregnancy, both of those things trumped whether or not Baby Bean was a Miss or a Mister. We were honestly and thoroughly content.
We saw Baby Bean's heart (all four chambers--amazing!), kidneys, bladder, brain, spine, and, of course, little hands and little feet. My husband and I wiped our eyes as we saw the intricate details of our Little One, amazed at the little nose and the little mouth. Even though we had already seen an ultrasound like this with Cub, we were still absolutely in awe of the miracle of our little life. It wasn't that we were witnessing a miracle again--it was that we were witnessing an entirely new miracle with a new life. And we were overwhelmed with thankfulness when we saw the healthy beating heart and the steady blood flow. For as much as the tech was allowed to tell us, she said the baby looked great. When you see so much detail and so many little working parts, you realize more how truly miraculous it is to have a baby who looks "great". I was reminded again how easy it can be to take that for granted. We have two healthy children. There is no truth that could humble us more.
She checked again for the gender and confirmed (as much as she could) that she just "didn't see anything there". We peered at the screen with her and she showed us the two little (yummy) legs and sure enough, there wasn't anything there. Having seen Cub's ultrasound when he was this far along, we knew what to look for! We both smiled and she congratulated us on our Baby Girl.
THEN we freaked out. Lots of hugging and cheering.
When I picked Cub up from his Aunt Pam's, my heart swelled with pride at our little man. He toddled towards me and reached his arms up, and I pulled him close for a hug. My eyes were wet with tears when we got in the car and left. I'm so proud of our son. Our love for him is what spurred the desire to have another baby in the first place. And as I looked at his reflection in our rear view mirror and saw his toothy grin and heard his silly giggles, I knew that his little sister was beyond blessed to have him for a big brother. I asked him if he could say the word "sister", and he said "see-see" all the way home.
We went home and I baked the chocolate cupcakes and made the pink frosting to squirt inside. When my husband came home, we loaded up Cub and went to my in-laws' for the big reveal. After a delicious dinner, we passed out the cupcakes and everyone was thrilled with the pink. We were exhausted after a long day and crashed in bed when we came home. The next morning I woke up at 5:30 and headed to Arkansas to surprise my parents. They were absolutely shocked to see me and were excited to slice into their own little cupcake, with the pink frosting inside. After squeals and tears and hugs, Mom and I were able to hang out and shop a little and grab lunch together. And, of course, purchase some cute outfits for the baby. My time with my Mom reminded me of why I wanted a daughter in the first place, and I look forward to when Bean can spend time with us after she is born. It was a very sweet morning.
And now I am here, at home, catching up on sleep and rest. I'm glad we made a big deal out of the ultrasound. I'm glad we made the cupcakes. I'm glad I drove to Arkansas at dawn, with a cup of Starbucks in my hand. If I've learned anything while being a parent, it is that these moments come and go so quickly. You can never do too much to make them last. We were thrilled to celebrate and, most importantly, we were thrilled to have loved ones with whom to celebrate.
One boy. One girl. Baby makes four.
Have a lovely day.